Just a pretty girl in plaid

Plaid CW Girl

Pretty girl in plaid

I like this photo for the details of the clothing (no surprise there, right?). This girl is in a plaid dress that features dropped shoulder seams, long cuffed sleeves, a gathered bodice and a skirt over hoop with growth tucks. She has just a frill of lace on her neckline. Note that you see no buttons on the front of this dress. Children’s clothing buttoned in the back. I’m not completely sure why, but I have heard speculation it was so they could not undress themselves. Plaid and other types of busy patterned fabrics were popular choices for children’s clothing because it showed dirt less than a solid.

Photo by D. Clark

Photo by D. Clark

The photographer for this image was D. Clark of North Brunswick, NJ. I’m dating this photo to the 1865-1869 time frame because the image uses the whole card face, as well as the two lines of the border. There isn’t a tax stamp, so it was not from the 1864-1866 period. Prior to that, images were more typically small in the center of the card face. After 1870 the corners of the CDV cards were rounded.


A late addition


A much later date

This particular gem tintype was added to the Red Gem album after all the pages were filled – making me wonder about the duplicate images and why the owner didn’t remove one of those. The image was also obviously cut to the general shape of an oval, so perhaps it was going to be used in some other way and as an afterthought was added to the album. The tape has damaged the finish on the edges but fortunately the beautiful face is intact. The clothing looks to be from the 1880s and is lovely. Notice the asymmetrical details – buttons on one side, ribbon on the other. She appears to be leaning on something that looks like it could be the back of a chair, but it’s much too narrow. So, I am going to conclude it was some sort of prop used for these types of poses.

Well, that concludes our look at the Red Gem album and nary a name to be found. I have two more gem albums, a bunch of interesting CDVs and tin types, and of course many more cabinet cards to share with you. See you again soon!


Gems 22

Curls and frizz

One lady looking superior, one young woman looking disgruntled. Such is life when arranging your hair for the photographer.

Smooth, oiled curls

Smooth, oiled curls

In order to show off her perfect sausage curls, this lady has her head tilted in a 3/4 profile. Unfortunately, this gives us the “side glance” from her, and she looks a bit snooty, doesn’t she? Her clothing looks nice, well kept and fine, so perhaps she had reason to be smug.

Gems 22 - Frizz

Frizzed out

By contrast, this soft faced girl has her hair brushed out in back, with soft, frizzy curls on top, as well. She is the antithesis of her page-neighbor. She wears what looks to be a knitted shawl over her dress, and there is also a long chain of round links, first around her neck and then draped across her bodice. That was probably a style her friends were also wearing at the time.

Liberty Bell 23

Liberty Bell 25

Oh really?

This gentleman has a rather inquisitive look, doesn’t he? The photograph made by E. W. Smart in Exeter, NH is from post 1900, due to the longer shape of the bristol board and fancy embossed border around the image. We have seen several others from the Liberty Bell album that feature similar styling. According to Brett Payne’s Victorian & Edwardian Photo Album Collection,¬†Elijah W. Smart was born in 1859, spent time working as a brass finisher, and then did a stint as a photographer before going back to the brass finishing business. Brett Payne is a fellow photograph enthusiast and I enjoy his other site Photo Sleuth which I found through Sepia Saturday.

Liberty Bell 15

Liberty Bell 17

Sullen boy

As we continue through the Liberty Bell album it appears the family and/or friends must have been located in the Massachusetts and New Hampshire area. Today we look at a sullen looking boy in skirts, so under the age of 5, and likely under the age of 4. He is probably upset because he is still in skirts! My understanding is that skirts were used on boys until 4 or 5 years of age. Initially they were used to facilitate diaper changes on small boys and toddlers. Later on, a boy’s first short pants were a sign of moving away from babyhood and on to boyhood. It was a big moment for a child.

This as-yet-unbreached boy was photographed some time in the 1890s by A. M. Bean of 295 Essex Street, Lawrence, MA.

Liberty Bell 11

Liberty Bell 13

Lovely eyes with a high necked collar

Today we feature a fresh faced young woman with really lovely eyes. The way her hair is dressed combined with her soft face reminds me of a vintage china doll. Take a look at her blouse, too. The neck is made up of ruched fabric, probably a fine silk or silk/cotton blend. The rest of the blouse we can see appears to have cords stitched into the fabric as detail work. It probably also gave the blouse some structure. If the fabric was a lightweight, soft hand, the cords would give it just enough firmness to create the pigeon fronted look that was popular in Edwardian styles for women. Note that these features are also present on the previous two images made by the same photographer. They must be related in some way.

This photograph was made in the early 1900s by Tilton of Exeter, NH.


photo-66photo-68 photo-67Three photos found together in a packet, along with some other random photos. I believe they show a progression, with the baby being the first, then she is shown with her brother, and then the two siblings again. They are happy, round faced children who make me smile.

The baby photograph shows no photographer information.

The first photo of the siblings was done by Colville in 1917, no location.

The third photo was done by Peterson, in Tacoma, WA, no date.



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